Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

282 – Love of CountryIN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE By Hetty Gray # 282 “Love of Country!” Who can forget the “4th of July” celebrations we experienced as children? The events and their memories flood back as if they were yesterday. The colorful parades, the fireworks, the flags, the pageantry, the men and women in uniform, the gala atmosphere…. More than at any time in our rich 244 years, we need those feelings back today. This country is unique in its founding. God is at her heart, and America needs God today in a big way! When we look back at our founders, we see men who pledged their very lives and everything they owned to fight for freedom. Yes, freedom of religion was at the core of their thoughts, but also freedom to work and achieve in a society unencumbered by an overreaching government. Americans have a nation envied worldwide. Not only do we have the freedom to choose our individual paths in life, but we also have the freedom to move about without restriction. We savor those freedoms every minute of our lives, but we take them for granted because most of us never had to fight to defend them. Absent a catastrophic event that threatens every one of us, we enjoy the security lacking in countless countries around the globe. Today, as you gather together with friends to savor the day, remember those of us who do work today — the doctors, nurses, therapists, medical aides, laboratory technicians, x-ray personnel, EMTs, police officers and firemen who work today for each of us. For most of the nation, help is just a matter of picking up a cell phone (or for those of us who still have them, the land line telephone). As you grill those hamburgers and hot dogs, wolf down the potato salad and deviled eggs, rave over the desserts and sip that favorite beverage, just celebrate the fact that you can do that with friends and family knowing that your country gives you the freedom to do so. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… So, go pursue YOUR happiness today! Thank God for the United States of America and ask His blessing and guidance for all our citizenry. Step up and defend American values. Silence is perilous. America has given you everything. Give America back your love and allegiance. Revere those men and women who gave their lives to see that you live yours in freedom. Never take for granted what billions of people would give anything to have. Don’t just think about it. Do something about it. Defend her. Preserve her. You will never be sorry that you did. Pray for America. Prayer works miracles.

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 282

“Love of Country!”

Who can forget the “4th of July” celebrations we experienced as children? The events and their memories flood back as if they were yesterday. The colorful parades, the fireworks, the flags, the pageantry, the men and women in uniform, the gala atmosphere….

More than at any time in our rich 244 years, we need those feelings back today. This country is unique in its founding. God is at her heart, and America needs God today in a big way!

When we look back at our founders, we see men who pledged their very lives and everything they owned to fight for freedom. Yes, freedom of religion was at the core of their thoughts, but also freedom to work and achieve in a society unencumbered by an overreaching government.

Americans have a nation envied worldwide. Not only do we have the freedom to choose our individual paths in life, but we also have the freedom to move about without restriction. We savor those freedoms every minute of our lives, but we take them for granted because most of us never had to fight to defend them.

Absent a catastrophic event that threatens every one of us, we enjoy the security lacking in countless countries around the globe.

Today, as you gather together with friends to savor the day, remember those of us who do work today — the doctors, nurses, therapists, medical aides, laboratory technicians, x-ray personnel, EMTs, police officers and firemen who work today for each of us. For most of the nation, help is just a matter of picking up a cell phone (or for those of us who still have them, the land line telephone).

As you grill those hamburgers and hot dogs, wolf down the potato salad and deviled eggs, rave over the desserts and sip that favorite beverage, just celebrate the fact that you can do that with friends and family knowing that your country gives you the freedom to do so.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

So, go pursue YOUR happiness today! Thank God for the United States of America and ask His blessing and guidance for all our citizenry. Step up and defend American values. Silence is perilous.

America has given you everything. Give America back your love and allegiance. Revere those men and women who gave their lives to see that you live yours in freedom. Never take for granted what billions of people would give anything to have. Don’t just think about it. Do something about it. Defend her. Preserve her. You will never be sorry that you did.

Pray for America. Prayer works miracles.

282 “Love of Country”

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 282

“Love of Country!”

Who can forget the “4th of July” celebrations we experienced as children? The events and their memories flood back as if they were yesterday. The colorful parades, the fireworks, the flags, the pageantry, the men and women in uniform, the gala atmosphere….

More than at any time in our rich 244 years, we need those feelings back today. This country is unique in its founding. God is at her heart, and America needs God today in a big way!

When we look back at our founders, we see men who pledged their very lives and everything they owned to fight for freedom. Yes, freedom of religion was at the core of their thoughts, but also freedom to work and achieve in a society unencumbered by an overreaching government.

Americans have a nation envied worldwide. Not only do we have the freedom to choose our individual paths in life, but we also have the freedom to move about without restriction. We savor those freedoms every minute of our lives, but we take them for granted because most of us never had to fight to defend them.

Absent a catastrophic event that threatens every one of us, we enjoy the security lacking in countless countries around the globe.

Today, as you gather together with friends to savor the day, remember those of us who do work today — the doctors, nurses, therapists, medical aides, laboratory technicians, x-ray personnel, EMTs, police officers and firemen who work today for each of us. For most of the nation, help is just a matter of picking up a cell phone (or for those of us who still have them, the land line telephone).

As you grill those hamburgers and hot dogs, wolf down the potato salad and deviled eggs, rave over the desserts and sip that favorite beverage, just celebrate the fact that you can do that with friends and family knowing that your country gives you the freedom to do so.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

So, go pursue YOUR happiness today! Thank God for the United States of America and ask His blessing and guidance for all our citizenry. Step up and defend American values. Silence is perilous.

America has given you everything. Give America back your love and allegiance. Revere those men and women who gave their lives to see that you live yours in freedom. Never take for granted what billions of people would give anything to have. Don’t just think about it. Do something about it. Defend her. Preserve her. You will never be sorry that you did.

Pray for America. Prayer works miracles.

281 History – A Value Assessment

Monday, June 29th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 281

June 30, 2020

“History — A Value Assessment”

It’s been a month since I last wrote a column. This one should even things out. Moreover, my upcoming “4th Of July” column is red, white and blue to its core.

————————————————————————————————

Over the last twenty years I have worn my soapbox thin while warning readers that America’s public education has failed to teach factual history. A quick look at many current textbooks will astound anyone with a decent background in both American History and World History. More opinion than fact, to be sure….

Under the law, ignorance is no excuse. Yet, ignorance is on full display as thugs masquerading as “protestors” roam the streets of cities from coast to coast toppling statues of historical figures and defacing memorials honoring our military.

If one adjective describes America, it is resilient. No matter what has befallen the United States, she bounced back with determination. While determination is key to a recovery from adversity, no amount of determination is worth its salt without the crucial teamwork of love of country and respect for the law.

Sadly, both are glaringly absent from the current mobs. Say what they will about their “purpose,” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is at the heart of their actions. They seek to tear down the country from the inside. I’m old enough to remember First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. He banged his shoe on a desk at the United Nations and warned the United States of what his country expected.

Three and a half months before, Nikita Khrushchev said, “We can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism until one day they will awaken to find they have communism.”

Variants of this passage also appeared in newspaper opinion columns and letters to the editor. Yes, decades have elapsed since he barked out his venomous prediction. It’s hard for Americans over 60 to imagine how far our elected officials have bought into the morass of the great socialist lie.

To quote an old American saying, “There is no free lunch.”

As often as I cite it, Venezuela comes to mind. Once the most prosperous country in South America, Venezuela’s glory is gone. Her people are destitute. Her duly elected president is out of the country and banned from returning to try to turn his Venezuela around. Former President Nicolas Maduro lost the election to Juan Guaido, but he ignored the results.

“Maduro usurped power; he’s not the duly elected president. Juan Guaido is the person that the Venezuelan people chose. America and now 54 other nations simply have ratified that, have said, ‘Yep, we recognize that’s what Venezuelans want.'” – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (March 19, 2019)

Current conditions in Venezuela should be enough to scare the pants off anyone who works for a living and seeks to government operate with the good of the nation at heart.

And so, history is the ultimate teacher. But it must be taught — warts and all. What too many of us have ignored for so long surfaced in the recent, widespread criminal mischief that laid waste to city after city.

Given today’s climate, isn’t the proof evident? Isn’t our inadequate response to the “dumbing down” of our children crystal clear? Sadly, it is. Our young people have been taught that America is responsible for nearly every ill you can name. How, then, does that mindset arm them to lead their fellows one day?

Grade school classrooms that once boasted portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln sport posters on diversity. When we were in school, history came alive for us as we learned about colonists fighting for freedom… the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” and countless other stories to illustrate how hard our forebears worked to secure freedom for every American. Our first songs were the military service hymns and the National Anthem. I doubt if most students could even name the U. S. armed services.

Were there inequities in our history? Absolutely. Were there persons who sought to relegate the former slave to a lowly state in perpetuity? You bet. However, for all the railings and rantings of the “so-called” broadcast and print media these days, one glaring fact is absent. Did our people press for change?
Yes. Beginning with the “Underground Railroad” and continuing into the formation of a new political party to replace The Whigs.

You see, in 1854, long before the Civil War, the Republican Party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin, on an anti-slavery platform. The 20th century votes to pass landmark legislation guaranteeing civil rights were also Republican votes.
The Democratic Party was the party of the Ku Klux Klan and lynching. One of the longest serving senators was Robert Carlyle Byrd, (D) West Virginia. Byrd served in the United States Congress from 1952 to 2010, making him one of the longest serving U.S. Senators in American history. While in office, he earned the praises of civil rights advocates.
However, prior to his political career, Byrd was a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan during the early 1940s.
My, my…. How easy it is for the Democrats to ignore these facts! Democrats were responsible for the hated laws that bear a recognizable name. Joe Biden was so bodacious as he accused someone of “not being black” if he considered voting for anyone else than a Democrat.

Yet, due to its historically accurate role in ending slavery and in also introducing Reconstruction Acts and Amendments to the Constitution, the traditional home of the black voter was the Republican Party. Fact, not fiction.

It is of interest that the Democratic Party was the party of mid-1960s Jim Crow, laws enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by blacks during the Reconstruction period in the aftermath of the Civil War. Jim Crow laws were enforced until 1965 — when Republican votes passed the Civil Rights Act. Facts affirm that Southern Democrats consistently voted against measures to give black Americans rights they were due. It was only with Republican votes that the badly needed legislation passed.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this was the prevailing attitude within the mid-1960s Democratic party in the when welfare legislation passed. President Lyndon Johnson is said to have commented on just that topic.

Heed this text from page 155 of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of LBJ, a remark made to Richard Russell, a fellow Democratic Senator from Georgia:

“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

Yes, nomenclature aside, remarks such as those from Johnson are despicable — “a problem for us” (Democrats)…. Regardless of his personal opinion, Johnson’s responsibilities of elected office should have kept him from saying it aloud. So, the Democratic strategy was to give them “a little something but not enough to make a difference.” How many in our black community are aware of that? It’s certainly been left out of the American lexicon.

I wonder what would happen today if black voters heard the word “uppity” used to describe them for simply wanting better lives for their families.

Who funds the leadership of the black community claiming everything is racist and the fault of whites while they live secure lives in nice homes — not worrying about the rent or next week’s groceries? As quipped in “Jerry McGuire — follow the money!”

Victimization leaders pay to send their children to good schools while they deny their constituents school choice. With no financial backing it is difficult for someone in the black community to step forward to counter their venom. Yet, that is precisely what the black community needs. More than anyone else, they exacerbate a volatile situation on which the media feeds incessantly.

There is hope. God grants us all free choice, as does our U.S. Constitution. Spread the word that free choice is a direct benefit of freedom in America. Nobody sees George Floyd’s death as acceptable, but let the system work. Peaceful protest is wonderful. Americans as a whole are all for it. Yet, it is the groups that hijack the grievances to terrorize our cities and towns that pose the largest danger to our nation.

I have a wonderful sweatshirt with a great image of Frederick Douglass, yet the shirt gets a second glance not because of his picture, but of the huge letters above his image — F D R.

Of course, most people think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; but below the picture is the real description: Frederick Douglass, Republican — true.

Democrats would have you think that they are the ones to protect every black American. Yet, for decades (in some cases 7 decades) Democratic leadership in cities and states across the country has failed to improve the lives of the black community. Oh, every four years Democrats show up and to call Republican names and to claim that the black community can only depend on The Democrats.

This is the saddest thing for everyone. Not just the people of color. Why? Lies never produce anything positive. Consistently insisting that a group of people are victims yet failing to really do anything for them worked until 2016. Then things changed. Employment numbers over the last three and a half years proved the dependency mantra wrong. Now the nation faces another four months of spiel and disinformation that threatens the freedoms we cherish.

I pose this question: What if all the protestors that break windows, toss bottles at police, torch buildings, destroy businesses, block off streets, declare they are the law, and wreak havoc on precious monuments had to fight for the freedom of expression they exercise? It’s much easier to usurp other’s freedom and race into cities hell bent on destruction. Intimidation is their weapon.

They fight for a tired ideology that failed every time it was tried. Liberal professors herald socialism as the “be all, end all” for their students. It’s the only “fair way.” Yet, facts prove them completely wrong.

Many my age remember seeing films of Chinese children taught that America was evil and her people should die. Today, Palestinians spew the same hatred against the Israelis. What parallel do we see?

Those seeking to destroy the United States and Israel know they cannot defeat capitalism legitimately. Instead, they vow to destroy it. Capitalism and personal initiative stand as the sole obstacles preventing them from taking away every freedom that makes America the envy of the world. Every freedom you have….

Do not stay silent. Oh, you are probably among what most call the “silent majority,” but you and others like you are under a threat never experienced before to this degree. Urge your state to demand legitimate absentee ballots. A mailed ballot is the biggest threat to our election process. Voter ID protects all voters.

Certain circumstances demand action. This presidential election cycle requires nothing less. Action. Not words. The Democrats banter about all manner of words, but their actions paint a dismal picture for this country.

My readers recognize that I generally end my columns with a familiar suggestion. So, here’s another something for readers to “think ab
Consider these words, important words for each of us.

H History
I Inspires
S Student
T Thought
O Overcoming
R Ridiculous
Y Yammerings (for Socialism)

H Hysteria
E Eradicates
R Reason,
I Instigating
T Treacherous
A Anarchists to
G Goad law
E Enforcement

And so, the soap box top grows ever thinner.

280 “A Physics Lesson”

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

In 2013, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that it had selected political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes

279 ” The 5 Ws”

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 279

April 16, 2020

It’s been a long time since a month (actually tomorrow) separated two consecutive columns. I have been reticent to write about the current virus problem due to the ever-changing data and reports from around the nation and the world.

I harbor my own suspicions. If I had written my thoughts at the beginning of this fiasco, I would have been well ahead of the curve, but I waited to do so, nonetheless.

I harken back to two columns that I wrote over 15 years ago. Three presidents ago. I wrote that moving production of essential materials overseas was bad enough but doing so in a notably Communist country amounted to nothing less than stupidity. Our compounds for pain killers and antibiotics certainly fall into that category.

The second column was titled “the eye of the Tiger,” in which I cautioned that America was feeding the Tiger (China)” that would one day attempt to eat it. Electronics and pharmaceuticals are at the heart of this problem. Forget about the Christmas trees and all the small items that come from China. Textiles, glassware, small appliances — the list goes on and on and on…. Do those cheap prices make you feel any better today, knowing what China is capable of doing to us all?

Hmmmm…. How did that all that offshore production work out for you, folks? Cheaper is not necessarily better. The cost of obtaining cheaper goods from a Communist country is not only dangerous, it is idiocy. I wonder just how much input the Business Round Table and Wall Street had in all this mess.

Well, now — beyond the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” — I believe this virus is far more than coincidence. I am a firm believer that very little that happens in this world can be solidly attributed to coincidence. There is an ugly plan afoot and it is to take down the United States of America short of any military action. So far, it’s been working pretty well, for China.

Recently a friend sent me Bill O’Reilly’s piece on COVID-19. He was not only on the mark, but also echoed everything my husband and I have discussed since the onslaught of the disease. Coupled with the disturbing attacks on faith, it warrants a deeper look at the look of the proposed plans of the Democrats in this country. I doubt that FDR or Truman would recognize the party they espoused from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Socialist is a mild term for DNC positions today. Their comments are more Communist than Socialist. They believe in “helping” the American worker by inserting government into business. Oh? How is that going with the Post Office? This is not new. They put down religion at every opportunity. Even the New York City mayor cited a “charity” hospital in Central Park. It was built by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse. Oops. Religion helping. Can’t have that in the press, can we DeBlasio?

Consider the Obama comment that people “cling to their guns and religion.” Really? There is a reason for both. We know it. We feel it in our bones. We are Americans. We don’t take lightly to folks stepping on our basic rights and decrying the importance of God in our lives. If I remember correctly, Obama lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years and couldn’t find a church. How interesting. Ronald Reagan went to church every Sunday, as did many other presidents. Yet, the left leaning Obama, just couldn’t find a place to go….

Our First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion. Are you aware of how China deals with Christianity? Stomped out at every opportunity pretty much describes it. Although most countries that mimic the Communist attitudes of China seem to have escaped this pandemic, one notable exception is Iran.

That should be no surprise. Iran also espouses a higher power. Nothing threatens a Communist government more than people who believe in God. God is the sole power that Communists fear. President Trump has, from the “get go,” unabashedly referred to our Creator. That makes a Communist shake in his boots. Take note, Russia, North Korea and China and cohorts.

And cling to guns? The Second Amendment affords every American to defend person and property. It’s quite understandable since America’s founding came in response to the harsh moves of the British. Better be an alarmed public than a disarmed public.

Looking back through world history, I sympathize with the people of both Russia and China. Brute force and no choice yield a truly horrible life.

And COVID-19. We know where it originated. China. Those who warned of its contagion were either eliminated or silenced. Why? Surely pride does not explain it. Then there is the WHO. How apt, those letters. It reminds me of the 5 Ws of journalism (grossly ignored by the mainstream media).

Who
What
When
Where
Why

Well, we know who: The Chinese (with the WHO covering for them)
We know the what: COVID-19.
We presume the When: late 2019.
We know the where: Wuhan, China.

Why? I have my own suspicions. Mine are closely paired with those of Bill O’Reilly. China’s economy was struggling as the American economy was growing by leaps and bounds. It couldn’t beat America in the business world. It couldn’t threaten militarily — at least not at this point — so it had to find another way, if only from an unexpected opportunity. Shut America down. Now, just what would do that?

Business as usual has been, for more than four decades, in favor of China. Deemed a developing country, our government officials let them hold sway in trade.

Then, in 2016, we elected a president willing and able to negotiate with the American worker and consumer in mind: Donald J. Trump.

Is it any wonder that the Pelosi Democrats are eager to boot Trump from office? Not if you consider what they would have America be. Open borders. Sanctuary cities who make their own laws and loose criminals into their cities with no deportation. A widespread welfare state with huge numbers of Americans dependent of the government.

And then there is faith.

Pelosi claims to be a devout Catholic. Well, her support of abortion flies in the face of that of “the Church.” It’s no surprise to me that she flies home every weekend. If she is indeed a follower of the Vatican and the Catholic church, she must have a reserved seat in the confessional. It would take all weekend to appeal to God via her priest to be forgiven for all she had accomplished, or all she tried to accomplish while in Congress the previous week.

Her self-effacing comments and “holier than thou” attitude pose an affront to those who believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are founded on all three. Yet….

Abortion destroys a life. (A woman’s right to choose? Choose to kill a baby? Right….)
Liberty lives when laws are obeyed. (Sanctuary cities?)
Happiness dies without life and liberty. (Government’s nose in everything.)

We will reopen this country. The American people will resolve to do it and do it swiftly. We will bounce back, much to the chagrin of the scheming Chinese. Wonder what they will pull out of their trick bag next?

Then, there is the scene here at home. Watch to see how Democrats react. Undoubtedly, their far-left wish list will be woven carefully into any further money requested to help each of us survive. I can hardly wait to see what might be next. What a bunch of idiots. Sadly, hatred is a powerful tool. If they cannot get their own, way, they throw tantrums, epithets, scream racism, sexism, and xenophobia. They are so dumb they cannot get out of their own way. The sad thing is that so many uninformed Americans just follow their lead.

Listen carefully to what they accuse Trump of having done. Take each criticism apart and you will see that that which they accuse him of doing is precisely what they do every day.

At the core, we have a choice. The push for Voter ID is a no brainer. There is no easier way to cheat in an election than to do otherwise. The sudden appearance of “lost ballots” or last- minute absentee ballots in a close election always seem to fall to one side of the equation. And it’s not to the advantage of Republicans… And accusations of voter suppression only mimic the tone of “under served” and “people of color.” I don’t judge people that way.

Take a good look at cities run by Democrats. They are in debt, have high crime rates and their inner cities are dismal. They claim to work on behalf of the inner-city people, yet conditions were really better before integration when business owners and professionals were familiar faces. Not that segregation was a good thing. It was not. Yet, the Democrats have injected polished victimization into an ugly art form. There are countless stories of achievement by minorities — Dr. Benjamin Carson for one.

Thus far, we have triumphed over trouble. We will do no less now.

We are fighting the good fight. We are following the guidelines. We are up to the fight, too. Now, it is our duty to stand alongside our neighbors and continue to show China that just because it could not defeat us economically, it cannot defeat us by exporting a virus.

China knew that the virus was communicable human to human, yet it allowed its airports to remain open and allowed thousands of people from Wuhan to fly to countries around the
world. Isn’t it odd that Shanghai and Beijing were not overrun with the virus?

With populations comparable in density to New York City, these metropolitan areas have not suffered nearly as much as our Big Apple.

Short of accurate, truthful (mindful of that word’s importance) data from China on their rates of infection, positive cases, numbers of deaths, we are — in large part — in the dark.

Will we ever be able to prove what many think, that this pandemic was loosed on the world to, as O’Reilly quipped, “even the playing field?” Even if it was an accidental security lapse in a Wuhan research lab, the Chinese did not alert the world and close Wuhan to contain the virus.
They allowed it to spread and kill.

Explain that to the hundreds of thousands of families who lost loved ones to this pandemic.

278 “Patience”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 278

“Patience”

Today my generation sees the picture a bit differently from those in their 50s and below. Our parents and grandparents grew up on the stories of World War I. The most glaring memories are of the Spanish flu (yes, named for the country in which it began) of 1918.

Some of you readers have a cursory knowledge of this through a particularly poignant episode of Great Britain’s “Downtown Abbey” series on PBS. Matthew Crawley brought his fiancée to the country home of the Lord and Lady Grantham in order to introduce her to his extended family to which he had only been linked since the heir to the estate had died on the Titanic.

This vicious flu had an afterlife. It came in three waves, and the third took the most devastating toll on the world.

Like COVID-19, the disease claimed lives across the economic spectrum. Today, America faces a ruthless, unforgiving enemy that will impact families across all social lines. Sadly, the most vulnerable are our elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Thankfully, it does not replicate the Spanish flu in terms of fatalities. In contrast, its mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older.

The Spanish flu, was the deadliest epidemic in world history. An estimated 500 million worldwide were infected, and the death toll was anywhere from between 20 to 100 million.

Granted, medical science has come a long way. Communication is light years from the Morse Code and newspapers of 1918. Yet, to get through this, Americans need to pay attention. The big question is, “Will we?”

Washington State has been hit with real force. It is interesting that 40 of the 64 deaths came from one nursing home. While awful for the families affected, it shines a light on how one location can be central to the spread.

It is hard to extrapolate how many people were exposed with no knowledge as the disease began to claim its victims. Of note, is one of our friends, a Nurse Practitioner on the peninsula that juts forth within view of British Columbia. Her does home visitations for a major health care provider. Clearly at risk, she takes all possible care as she takes care of those who depend on her.

We recognize the risk for all our health care providers. However, we need to realize that they are not alone on the front lines. Law enforcement, fire personnel and EMTs are out there every hour of every day. They need our support, and — yes — our prayers.

Anyone who regards COVID-19 as trivial, overblown, or someone else’s problem need to stop and take stock of the situation. If they go ahead in cavalier fashion, they are deluding themselves and not paying attention to history. Not merely a litany of names, dates, places and events, history is our ultimate teacher — a teacher without bias, a teacher giving the real facts.

We “need to heed.” Far too many times, many of the younger generation operate with another attitude. I fear that the current posture among far too many millennials is more “greed over need.” It is time to step back and take a hard look at what is truly important — life, not lifestyle.

This is not a repetitive column. One stark fact looms. Echoing the column title, it is best for Americans to have patience, not be patients.

Don’t just think about it. Do what you must do, not what you think you can get away with.

277 – “Metamorphosis”

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 277

March 8, 2020

“Metamorphosis”

No, readers, this has nothing whatsoever to do with Franz Kafka. Those of us who had this charming story in college probably never want to suffer through it again.

Recently, the “left field” (nothing to do with baseball, either) seems to have narrowed down to a pair. It is interesting that the party changed rules to allow Michael Bloomberg onto the televised debate stage yet they stonewall Tulsi Gabbard who had one delegate before Bloomberg landed his delegate after winning over that bastion of population, American Samoa. This would be funny were it not so serious.

What precisely all this portends in murky at this point, but it does illicit a high degree of skepticism among those who believe in God and the U. S. Constitution. Oh, no doubt the two men left to duke it out for the nomination will claim an allegiance to both, but perhaps their actions speak louder than their words.

How is it, I ask, that Biden, an avowed Catholic is not “pro life?” And what of self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Sanders when he banters all manner of nonsense as if he as president could ignore every modicum of the Constitution and do just what he wants?

Should he win the nomination, any debate with President Trump would be entertaining to say the least. For example, consider the following bits of wisdom from Bernie:

In the October Democratic debate:

On Global Warming:

“Today, the scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren.”

Evidently, the scientific community takes issue with Bernie.

“There are two ways to interpret ‘habitable,’ and in that context it could mean that life can’t survive,” Princeton’s Michael Oppenheimer, who has worked extensively with the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the Wire. “That is not a prescription that most scientists would agree with, or description.”

On Fidel Castro:

Vintage Bernie (1985)

“In 1961, [America] invaded Cuba, and everybody was totally convinced that
Castro was the worst guy in the world,” said Sanders.
“All the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society,” he said.
“You know, not to say Fidel Castro and Cuba are perfect – they are certainly not – but just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people does not mean to say the people in these nations feel the same,” continued Sanders.
On Hamas:
Sanders is off on the number of Gazans killed in the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict by just a little bit…
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Sanders blithely asserted that 10,000 Gazans were killed during the conflict, then after heavy pressure he attempted to walk it back by saying, “I did not know the exact number, but it turns out that, according to the United Nations, over 2,000 civilians were killed, and some 10,000 people were wounded.”
Consider Joshua Yasmeh’s assessment of Bernie’s claim.
Bernie Sanders Knows NOTHING About Israel — Or The Rest Of The World For That Matter
Bumbling buffoon and apparent Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a complete and utter moron. The man doesn’t know a damn thing outside of his pre-scripted talking points about big banks and income inequality. To Sanders, the world is flat; America exists in vacuum, and the Middle East is but a distraction. That’s why he knows nothing about Israel. He knows nothing, because he doesn’t care to know.
After telling the New York Daily News in an interview that the Israeli army had killed 10,000 Gazans during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, he drew scorn from both sides of the aisle demanding that he correct his grossly inflated numbers.
The Atlantic sums up the socialist septuagenarian’s interview with the Daily News as follows: “Throughout his interview, Sanders seemed taken aback when he was pressed on policy—and not just on the matters that are peripheral to his approach, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or interrogation of detainees, but even on bread-and-butter matters like breaking up the big banks, the Democratic presidential hopeful came across as tentative, unprepared, or unaware.”

Man- Made Global Warming – Bernie’s View

Sanders thinks that a 65-degree temperature on Christmas Eve is evidence of man-made global warming. Here are his words:
Nobody can recall a Christmas Eve where the temperature was 65 degrees. Why is it that we’re not effectively addressing climate change?

Oops, Bernie, old pal…. maybe you can’t remember, but the Weather Bureau certainly does!
It was 62° in Burlington, VT on Christmas Day in 1964 and 80° in Baton Rouge, LA on Christmas Eve, 1970.
Sanders still thinks the New York subway uses tokens.

When talking to the New York Daily News Editorial Board, Sanders was unaware that people now use metro-cards to get on.
“What do you mean, ‘How do you ride the subway these days?’” Sanders cluelessly said. “You get a token and you get on.”
The subway made the change from tokens to metro-cards in 2008, and Sanders told the editorial board he last used the subway in 2015. So much for his memory on the subway. Sadly, that is not his sole shortfall.
Sanders does not understand the concept of collateral.
It makes no sense that students and their parents pay higher interest rates for college than they pay for car loans or housing mortgages.

Collateral is defined as “a property or other assets that a borrower offers a lender to secure a loan.” For instance, in the case of a mortgage “the lender can take possession of the home through a process called foreclosure and sell it to get back the principal it lent you.” Source: Investopedia.

Professor Mark Youngkin puts his rebuttal this way:

Actually, given the default rates on student loans vs. car and home loans, it makes perfect sense.

#itscalledeconomics

Sanders doesn’t understand how the Supreme Court works.

A Sanders Tweet:
Any Supreme Court nominee of mine will make overturning Citizens United one of their first decisions.

This tweet is egregiously false to the point that even the leftist ThinkProgress blog had to call Sanders out on it:

“The problem with this tweet, however, is that it betrays a serious misunderstanding of how the Supreme Court operates. Unlike a legislature, which is free to take up or ignore particular issues at their leisure, court cases must clear numerous procedural hoops before they are decided, and this is doubly true for the Supreme Court of the United States. In reality, it would be nearly impossible for Sanders’s nominee to ensure that any particular case was “one of their first decisions.”

Sanders believes the conspiracy theory that Sandra Bland was murdered by racist cops.

Back in December, Sanders said in a statement, “There’s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman.”

Problem is, Bernie, the evidence is quite clear that Bland’s death was due to suicide.
Here’s a real gem:

Sanders wants the U.S. to be more like China.

China – not exactly seen as a model when it comes to human rights – provides 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. The US provides zero.

Hollywood replied: James Woods

China has notoriously killed female infants for population control, you utter moron.

Biden

Lest we forget that there’s another candidate vying for the nomination. Let’s turn to Biden

Source: The Federalist

While celebrating his Super Tuesday victories on stage in California, Biden mixed up his wife and sister on stage.
“By the way, this is my little sister Valerie!” Biden said as he grabbed his wife’s right hand. “And I’m Jill’s husband,” he added when reaching for his sister’s.
During a March 2 campaign stop in Texas, Biden appeared to forget the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” Biden began. “All men and women created by- go- you know- you know the thing.”
The “thing” Biden was referring to of course, is the Declaration of Independence.

I don’t know about each of you, but I learned that piece of wisdom when I was a child! And I have never forgotten it.
Biden could not remember it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

He claimed that he was looking forward to Super Thursday. Not so, Joe. Tuesday.

Another parcel of thought from February 24th in South Carolina:

“My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.” Three decades off, Joe, and that was your vice presidency in 2009.

Biden needs a bit of help with geography, and not in the USA.
In a December, 2019, in a meeting with the Des Moines Register, Biden stressed that millions of Venezuelans were fleeing for neighboring Bolivia. Bolivia, however, is on the opposite side of the continent located south of Brazil, far from Venezuela in the north.

Venezuelans are fleeing, but to Columbia. The United Nations estimates more than 1.3 million Venezuelans have sought refuge from the collapsing socialist state in their home country.
Hmmmm…. Socialist country. Now, where have we heard Socialism lately?
He doesn’t have much more success with the United States.
At a fish-fry fundraiser last Nov. 2nd, hosted by Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Biden confused Iowa for Ohio when talking about infrastructure.
“How many unsafe bridges do you still have here in the state of Ohio?” Biden asked a group of Iowa voters. “I mean Iowa, and I was just in Ohio because they have more.”

Now, remember before reading this that President Trump is the only US chief executive in history to fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities. All funds going to these deserving institutions were meted out annually, but only after they came to the government for help.

Now, let’s see what Joe knows about them.

At an Oct. 26 South Carolina town hall, Biden claimed to have started out at Delaware State University, a historically black college in his home state as opposed to the University of Delaware where he actually went to school.
“I got started out at an HBCU, Delaware State. Now I don’t want to hear anything negative about Delaware State here. They’re my folks,” Biden said during a South Carolina town hall.

No total recall when it came to the name of the man Obama put forth for the US Supreme Court.

Again, classic Joe. And on late night TV — no less.

In a Sept. 25 appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Biden stumbled when talking about the Supreme Court and seemed to have forgotten the name of the last Supreme Court nominee under President Barack Obama.
“Back when, when they were holding up before Trump got elected, they were holding up, uh, um, the nomination of the president put forward for the Supreme Court,” Biden rambled before Jimmy Kimmel jumped in to provide the name.
“Merrick Garland,” Kimmel interjected.
“Merrick Garland, a really fine man,” Biden said.
Oh, and one of my nostalgic favorite Biden gaffes:
‘Make Sure You Have the Record Player On at Night’

Responding to a question about his opposition to reparations for slavery during the third Democratic primary debate in September, Biden pivoted to discussing gaps in education and encouraged teachers and parents to “have the record player on at night.”
“They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do,” Biden said, referring to parents not knowing how to raise their children and then offered some advice. “Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night. … Make sure that kids hear words.”

Assessing his own mental condition:

Biden forgot which building he was speaking in during a stop at Dartmouth College on Aug. 24, 2019, in New Hampshire.
“I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts,” Biden told the crowd Friday after stuttering. “I’m not sure whether it was the medical school or where the hell I spoke. But it was on the campus.”
And his “state of mind” in reality…
While speaking to reporters in Keene, New Hampshire on Aug. 24, Biden praised the beauty of Vermont when asked about his impression of the New Hampshire town.
“I love this place. Look, what’s not to like about Vermont in terms of the beauty of it? And what a neat town,” Biden said. This is like a scenic, beautiful town. They mayor’s been a good guy. Everybody has been really friendly. I like Keene a lot.”
And his timing? Locale is a problem here, too.
Biden Says He Was Vice President During Parkland Massacre.
On Aug. 10, Biden claimed he was still vice president during the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which happened on Feb. 14, 2018. Biden, however, had been out of office for more than a year at that point.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden told reporters in Iowa, according to Bloomberg News.
A campaign official told Bloomberg that Biden meant to refer to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which occurred in December 2012 and killed 26 people, 20 of whom were children between the ages of 6 and 7.

Gender Identity or Quantity?
A Turning Point USA field staffer confronted Biden in Iowa on Aug. 9, asking him, “How many genders are there?”
“There are at least three,” Biden said, trying to appease the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that has been pushing society to abandon two-gender biology.
The staffer pressed Biden on the question. “What are they?” she inquired.
“Don’t play games with me, kid,” Biden said before grabbing the young staffer’s arm to explain his previous support for gay marriage. “By the way, the first one to come out for marriage was me.”

The next time you think about education, process this pearl of Biden wisdom:

‘Poor Kids Are Just as Bright as White Kids’

The former vice president said he misspoke when he told the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 8 that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

“You Can’t Go to a 7-11 or Dunkin’ Donuts Unless You Have an Indian Accent”

Consider the impact of this statement made in 2006. A party that claims to be the most inclusive and most tolerant has a sitting US Senator profiling an entire population as proprietors or managers of convenience stores or donut shops. Isn’t it interesting that the truth jumps out when Biden is speaking casually?

And lastly, as a government teacher, I give you my favorite:

“We Believe in Truth over Facts.”

“We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts,” Biden told the receptive crowd at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox.

And if this one didn’t scare you, consider his Democratic peer and her agreement.

Biden’s new ideas regarding facts are in line with the beliefs of Ocasio-Cortez, who has been on record saying facts don’t matter as long as people are morally right.
“There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” the New York congresswoman said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper in January.

As you reflect on these two men, remember that there is a segment of our population who vote like sheep — voting for the party and not the person. Pray for the nation. The last thing we need is what either one of them offers.

Oh, and the column title, “Metamorphosis?” Well, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon have now morphed into “The Haranguing Garbles of Babble On.”

Think about it.

276 “SNAP Judgment”

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

92612963438737543475360551
IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 276 “SNAP Judgment”

February 11, 2020

Judgment is critical to any situation we face, but why SNAP? There is more to this word than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at the people behind the title.

Schiff
Nadler
And
Pelosi

Supported by the Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives, these four
insulted the intelligence of those who voted for, and elected, Donald J. Trump in 2016.

Ably backed by the main-stream media that echoed their venom, this foursome put forth a message that, resounding around the world, damaged the reputation of our nation. I fear that, their efforts, aided by a little more than two hundred people under their persuasion and protected by warped print and broadcast media, scarred the image forged over two hundred years — an image based on freedom and fairness. And why? Their actions illustrate the ultimate human frailties.

Clearly evident within their efforts to remove this president are The Seven Deadly Sins.

Pride – self-importance
Greed – insatiability
Lust – passion for destroying this president
Wrath – anger and rage (visible in their every action)
Gluttony – excess ( rapaciousness)
Envy – as a verb, to covet (in this case the office itself)
Sloth – indolence ( in this case, apathy to research, relying on feelings — not facts)

In response to their petulant performance, the answer is one word.

COURAGE
HONOR
AND
RESPONSIBILITY
ARE
CENTRAL
TO
EXCEPTIONAL
RESULTS

These letters describe one whose consistent actions echo the tenets of our Founding Fathers, one whose name exponentially showcases love of God, country and family, one whose devotion to duty erases doubt in anyone willing to dig into details and actually read the Constitution as it was written to assess the ridiculous charges made against him.

Setting the facts, it is easy to describe the actions of SNAP. They…

Quickly
Underscored
In
Detail

Presidential
Removal
Over facts (assuring the)

Quality (of the)
Ultimate
Outcome (Aquittal)

In closing, reason that this exercise in futility failed boils down to one word.

Tenacity
Resilience
Unparalleled
Momentum
Performance

Promises made. Promises kept.

Each of us needs to work to restore respect for our country in the younger generation who never taught the basics of the American experiment and lack the basic understanding of capitalism. Capitalism fuels ambition and achievement. Never has it been more important to defend freedom and liberty and instill a love of country back into our population.

Think about it. And, while you are thinking, vow to do all you can to educate those around you in order to re-elect Donald J. Trump as President of the United States and restore a Republican majority in both houses of Congress.

275 – “Meaning”

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

January 1, 2020

# 275

“Meaning”

First of all, readers, I want to wish each and every one of you a “Happy New Year.” In the current atmosphere of animosity spread with rumors and innuendos, that is a wish that may be hard to achieve. But try we will. Now, let’s turn to the next 364 days left in this calendar year.

The year is 2020. Those numbers have been bandied around for as long as I can remember, and I am no young chick anymore! More often than not, we think of the number 20/20 as something we hear in the optician or ophthalmologist’s. Most, if not all of us, take this to mean a visual diagnosis. But, I ask you to consider this next sentence as more than a play on words: “It’s 20 20.” Think about perfect vision as how we the world, not merely a ocular score.

Seeing the world involves far more than eyesight. Seeing the world is understanding the world, with all its beauty, serenity, flaws, conflict — weighing the good and the bad with a mindset that not every situation has a resolution that lasts. Yet, every situation can improve.

The documents of our Founding Fathers were written to last. They were meant to last. And last, they have — to this point — in great part due to the diligence of educators and ordinary citizens who saw the import of our great foundation documents and the necessity of passing on the values of freedom and responsibility to the next generation.

The allegiance to our nation displayed by generations of Americans, in war and peace, has held the United States out to the world as a beacon of freedom and the benchmark for progress for the individual — not a specific group, ethnicity, or religion.

Over the last thirty years many of us “older folks” have noticed the slow slip of American values in our schools. That slip permeates the culture we encounter now and endangers all that previous generations have fought and died to preserve. History is given short shrift in many schools, from K-12. And our colleges have become bastions for anti-American sentiments. In many cases, socialist professors outnumber conservatives in huge percentages. With a captive, classroom audience, their slanted view of government is more than poor judgement on the part of the college administrators, it’s downright dangerous.

This comment is not without defense. Nowhere on the planet has socialism succeeded. The most recent collapse of a productive economy within a system is Venezuela, long the gem of South America. That, sadly, could happen here. The push for socialism among the Democrats running to secure their party’s nomination for president would make the founders shudder. Yet, they foresaw such peril and designed the Electoral College and the Separation of Powers for just that reason. Who cries to tear them apart? The Democrats. Were they to succeed, you would not see the America that we know. Without the Electoral College, large population areas and big cities would hold sway over the smaller states and their voices — along with most of “fly-over” America — would be silenced forever.

At no time in American history has her progress or stable government been the products of socialism in any form. I cannot begin to trace the beginning of the thought processes we see among the Democrats today, but perhaps we could look to the communes of the 1960s and those who espoused the mantra: “Never trust anyone over thirty.”

Savants and exceptional students aside, education and intelligence may exist under thirty, but wisdom is rare. One acquires wisdom in living. Reflecting on ancient Rome, historians will tell you that subsidizing nonproductive people brought the then most famous Empire to its knees. No country can exist when more people take than give.

Go back to the old phrase that you cannot overload a wagon. Rome fell prey to inflation, over-taxation, and a form of feudalism. What do you call it when the most impressive, efficient medical system in the world succumbs to government control? Well, the doctors become serfs and a new, radical form of feudalism relegates the average person to less health care, less choice, and all the inherent problems resulting from both. What do you call it when a presidential candidates avows to raise your taxes? This should make every voter cringe!

If there are too many riding in the wagon and too few pulling, the wagon stalls — as will the America as we have known it. There is no excuse for promising that no work reaps reward. Hard work has merit, hard work achieves, and hard work fuels the human spirit with pride.

Look around you. Consider any industry responsible for the explosive growth of the United States since the middle 19-th century. Where do you see sloth? Where do you see lack of ambition or motivation? Nowhere.

Let’s consider this for the best explanation of why the year of 2020 should project a great future for America. 20/20 has long been the numerical equivalent of perfect vision. That is what we need. Perfection eludes us, but President Trump asks Americans to aspire to more. He asks each of us to achieve more. He asks us to be better as a people. He asks us to join together to make this a better country.

Make America Great Again is not merely a campaign slogan. It a challenge we can meet, each in our own way. Do not fall prey to those who promise free stuff. Like the old saying, “There is no free lunch.” Someone pays for it.

Do not allow the anger and the envy of those who lost the 2016 presidential election to poison the well to a point that people actually believe they can live off the government. Do not stand by and let others take up the fight. Refuse to donate to any college or university that limits conservative speech. Watch the social aspects of your own local and county governments.

Do not support anyone who turns against our basic values and spouts garbage. Garbage is good food that rots. Government is judged likewise. Once good and nourishing, responsible government ends up in the worst form of economic debris and is borne of
hogwash gone wild and baloney sold as solid advice.

Once, it was common to hear this: “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.” I guess we have forgotten to pass that bit of wisdom along over the last thirty years. More’s the pity….

Socialism rots a republic from within. Why not embrace a bright future for America? Secure our borders. Root out the government corruption that corrodes long-standing confidence in our FBI and CIA. There are far more government workers than elected officials and for lack of a better term, “The inmates are running the asylum.”

President Trump lays out a vision for America. No vision is perfect, but his is the only one in the last thirty years that roots in our founding and invokes Almighty God on a regular basis. He sees strong, resilient America, beholden to no one, and challenging the leaders of the world to wake up and smell the coffee.

We have stood as the beacon for freedom and can do so again, so long as we make sure that the generations younger than we know and understand the risks of buying the tempting, illicit messages of angry snake oil salesmen who travel about stirring up hatred and dividing people for no good reason. Right now, these purveyors of rot are busy on the campaign trail….

There is promise in 2020, but that promise roots in individual effort not governmental largess passed out in a cavalier fashion in order to enslave by deceit. Once the government controls any part of your life, that part is gone forever. As President Reagan said, “The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a Government Program.” How right he was, and is.

If the only way the Democrats can win is to lie and distort the record of this amazing administration, let’s give them a run for their money. Oops! It’s not their money. It’s ours. Think about it.

274 “Hoops!”

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

IN DEFENSE OF COMMON SENSE
By Hetty Gray

# 274

“Those were the days!”

July 23, 2019

It’s not rare or those of my generation to wax nostalgic about our youth. Value systems were solid. Family life revolved around school and church. Parents and children sat down to eat together without technological interruptions. Sundays were set aside for church and family. Most businesses were closed and it was a bad decision not to fill up the car or truck before Saturday night.

Few restaurants were open on Sunday and while drive-ins were common, a drive thru didn’t exist. The weekends were not tethered to today’s widespread youth Sunday sports schedules. Sunday was a family day. What’s more, our parents didn’t need to worry too much about what we saw when we went to the local motion picture theater.

Oh, the classic western showed violence, but the raw “in your face” blood and guts seen today would not have been tolerated fifty years ago. Yes, the bad guy fell off the horse or down the hill, but the bodily damage was never seen. The good guy won. Oh, for those days….

To you who grew up in Indiana, the following description will be more than familiar. Others will find it intriguing. For many of you, it will be a memory that perhaps you have buried for a while. Last night, surfing through the channels on DISH, the movie “Hoosiers” popped up. Wow!

Long story, short, we settled down to immerse ourselves in the legendary days of Indiana high school basketball. I had the opportunity to travel a lot when I was younger. Worldwide, I was met with similar queries. When I mentioned that I was from Indiana, questions fell into just two categories: The Indianapolis 500 and the winner-take-all high school basketball championship. That’s how famous the tournament was.

The introduction of Class Basketball brought to an end the tradition and the spectacle of the State Finals. From its inception, it was the highlight of the year for basketball fans statewide. And it wasn’t lost on college scouts either. Its abandonment is more than sad, its replacement arrangement has set a terrible example to youngsters: everybody wins. Once a championship trophy stood for victory. Now, trophies are handed out willy-nilly just for participation.

Well, folks, life does exact winners and losers, and in every conceivable venue. School taught us that. Today, as shocking as it sounds, even handwriting stands at risk. You remember handwriting? Cursive? We learned it from the large alphabet script that ran along the top of what was then called a blackboard. Ah, yes, even the simple blackboard bit the dust. Maybe green is easier on the eyes, but stark cursive examples on that blackboard served generations of us Americans and served us well.

If the so-called educators in charge of current elementary school curricula get their way pushing no cursive in school, I suppose that, in the future, a signatory will need only place an “X” on a legal document. How comforting. Many crimes were solved because an expert identified a criminal from handwriting samples. The only plus I can see for the no cursive movement is that active or would-be forgers will be out of business permanently.

Sorry for that pathetic bit of levity, but I fail to see the wisdom in hobbling our young people and pushing a really stilted dependence on gadgets. Yes, cell phones are great assets. Calculators are, too; but the person who invented that calculator knew how to add, subtract, and divide. While I acknowledge that many lives have been saved because of a quick, “911” cell call, there is another side of the coin — the countless lives lost due to texting or talking when driving. For every plus there is a minus. I digress.

Back to “Hoosiers”….

I make no claim that our younger years were devoid of problems, but we had a solid foundation on which to base our future. Some of us took jobs in factories, some went into the military, and others went on to college.

Some of us moved far afield and lived in locations thousands of miles from home. Others stuck around and never left, but that camaraderie we shared in the crowd as our basketball teams played their hearts out on the hardwood never left our souls. It awakened at the first scene of the movie. You see, that sense of community remains for a lifetime.

That is why, for my husband and me, “Hoosiers” is more than an evening’s entertainment. It portrays a clear image of the world in which we lived, a world where the very thought of a 24-hour-news channel was as improbable and far-fetched as science fiction.

In truth, not every family was a close one, but the community at large served as an extended family to many of us. Crime was all but nonexistent in our hometown, even if Indianapolis did have its share of trouble. Our radio news came in the morning, and at noon Fred Heckman’s familiar voice on WIBC radio (formerly WFBM) brought us up to date in his daily rendition of “My Town Indy.” Later, in the evening, most people checked in with the 11 o’clock news on television if only to check on the weather.

I chuckle now when I think about my mother in that regard. She was careful to make sure I was upstairs before the weather aired. I guess I didn’t sleep well if storms were forecast. That may date to the night that a tornado tore through town just a few blocks from our home. We heard its roar as it took off the third floor of the Five Points building across from Thomas A. Hendricks Elementary School. A few blocks east, the twister set the roof of the Kroger Store down in the middle of South Harrison Street!

Friday night in our hometown mimicked those in many a small Indiana town. Friday night was spectacular. Downtown stores remained open and, walking around, you saw nearly everybody you knew. Folks of all ages and parents with children strolled the sidewalks together. Rural families, too, flocked to the county seat to enjoy the shopping. Ice cream parlors offered up the latest treats. And world problems? Those subjects were tackled by groups of dads gathered on street corners while wives shopped with kids in tow.

If we felt any shudder at all, it was that looming decision after our senior year — what to do after graduation.

Today, some scenes in “Hoosiers” should give you pause — a minister in the locker room before each game. Yes, a player in the movie did take a knee, but to pray to God. Just before the final game in Butler Fieldhouse there were prayers yet again. While we hear phases of financial dealings labeled “Pay to Play,” the cast of “Hoosiers” had a twist with meaning: “Pray and Play.”

All those years dissolved into a mist of memory. Then came The Class of 1961’s 25th school class reunion held in June of 1986. Classmates could hardly wait to see “Hoosiers,” but its release would not be until November. We wondered if the movie would be true to life. Our vivid mental images of tumultuous Sectional and Regional games remained clear.

Dreams existed, to be sure, but they were realistic. Every high school understood the odds, but any small school that won its regional positively reveled in that victory. A Regional win heralded the thrill of playing in the State Finals held at Butler Fieldhouse. The finale recreated by the filmmakers is just terrific and accurate at its core. Even the 48-Star American Flag is true to the time.

Winning “The State,” was the ultimate prize for an Indiana high school. I miss the excitement of it all, and I know I am not alone. Yet, for countless schools, a sectional or regional win was met with great celebration.

Enter the father of famed Indiana University basketball player Steve Alford, currently the coach of UCLA. Sam Alford was an Assistant Collegiate Basketball Coach under Steve at Iowa in 1999 when my husband met him and his wife for supper in the Amana Colonies. Sam’s is a storied life, replete with the amazing records amassed as a high school coach. A member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Sam Alford was 452-245 in 29 seasons as a high school coach in Indiana, including a 300-188 mark in New Castle.
Sam Alford coached his son at Chrysler High School in New Castle, Ind., and was an assistant to Steve for four years at Southwest Missouri State, then joined him at Iowa in 1999.
Sam was a head coach at three other high schools — Monroe City, South Knox and Martinsville — and spent two years as an assistant at Franklin High School.
What a wonderful visit we enjoyed with Sam and his wife. He reviewed my book, Net Prophet – The Bill Garrett Story. It is the biography of our own hometown hero, the first Negro to play collegiate basketball for Indiana University in the Big Ten. I felt so honored to have Sam agree to review it for me.
After light conversation, I asked him if he would consider answering a pressing question. I remember the exchange very well. “Sam, what do you think of Class Basketball in the ISHAA?” His answer was short and sweet. “I hate it. It ruined the tournament.” He isn’t alone in that opinion. A lot of us feel that way, and I have even heard banter that there might be a referendum on an Indiana ballot one day to go back to one class. Gate receipts are a shadow of what they were and crowds have dwindled. Even with the growth of girls’ sports, there is absolutely no excuse for breaking up the tournament that made Indiana famous worldwide. What a shame it is for all of us….
The real problem that threatens going back to the former system is generating the necessary interest — a real worry because our generation, the one that fully appreciates the value of the one class tournament, is dying off. Sadly, young people who have never experienced the basketball competition we knew are in the dark. To put it mildly, they just don’t know what they are missing!
You see, we have two generations of people who never experienced the euphoria of “Hoosier Hysteria.” They are all the poorer for that. The lines that wound around the block at high schools waiting to buy tickets are scenes of the past.
Waxing nostalgic comforts those of us who lived those days. Memory may be the only thing we can embrace when it comes to high school basketball. The excitement we knew is no more….
Could there be a rebirth of the One Class, Winner-Take-All State Tournament? Will there be a time when neighbors will gather around a television set to tune in to the “The Finals?” (No other description would be necessary.)
Final is a terminal word, but it stands for an obituary when applied to the sole event that folks in Indiana loved and respected for decades. My hope is that it will return.
If you haven’t seen “Hoosiers” starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper, you can order a copy on-line or simply watch for it on cable or satellite television channel listings. “Hoosiers” recreates a time when basketball was king, when Friday night games (or the occasional Saturday game) drew packed crowds to gyms in hamlets, towns and cities. Keen rivalries fueled spirited cheer blocks and adults reveled in the games as much as the students. If your team won, you celebrated. If your team lost, your coaches and teachers reminded you to lose gracefully. It was just a game, but what a game it was!
In truth, the movie is based on the 1954 victory of tiny Milan. One of my favorite lines is from the locker room before the team walked out to face their opponent in the final game for Hickory. “Let’s do this for all the little schools…” They did.
The title “Winner” should mean something in Indiana. Once upon a time it did. The State Championship was the goal every school, no matter its size, sought to achieve. It can be that way again, but a sea change in the ISHAA brackets tournament games will require a groundswell of public support. Our state tournament had class — one class.
Think about it.
Oh, and watch the movie. Screen it for your grandchildren.